First Ukrainian Film Festival in New Mexico
UANM Board of Directors
Nataliya P. Edelman
Natalia was raised in Bucha, Kyiv region. As a young mother starting out she encountered first hand the Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe and was evacuated to Siberia with her 8-month-old son leaving behind her husband who was mustered onto the site of the meltdown as a “liquidator”. She eventually returned to Ukraine where she founded and operated a few successful businesses to support her family before eventually moving to the United States in 1999, first to Maine and then on to New Mexico where her son served in the United States Air Force. She holds a Master's degree in TV Production from Kyiv National Theater, Cinema and TV Production University. At school, she had the opportunity to work on different aspects of production. Nataliya is a director, PRE and POST Production certified from New Mexico CC, is an owner of Yonafilm Production, LLC and is a former Producer at SKYDIVEFILM Production. She was chosen to represent her NM school at several international cinema conferences and is also a certified yoga teacher.Founder and Co-Producer at Ukrainian Film Festival, New Mexico. Judge Film at IISFF11 Independent International Short Film Festival, New York.
Larysa Castillo, was born in Boyarka, Kiyivsaka obl, Ukrain, on June 3rd 1970. Grew up in Mikolayiv, southern Ukrainian. Came from creative family of teachers in multiple generations, but chosen different career path and became a pediatrician after graduation of medical school in Zaporizhzha in 1997. Came to United States in 2002 and was an active member of Ukrainian community in NJ. In 2010 came to Albuquerque, NM and working as an RN atPresbyterian hospital. Raising 2 sons. Hobbies: cross stitching, crocheting and making traditional Ukrainian "motanka" dolls. Became a member of UANM in 2019.
Director, Cultural Affairs
Poet, photographer, writer and publisher. Studied at the University of Manitoba, Masters' School of Social Work; Hunter College NYC and Rutgers University. Worked as a publisher for 17 years in NYC. During that time was CFO for 14 years and Vice- president for 4 years. Later worked in finance as an investment manager and financial advisor in the insurance industry. Also directed a mortgage company for numerous years. Currently resides in Santa Fe.
Daria was born in Chernihiv Ukraine and raised in a Ukrainian family home where ancestral Ukrainian traditions and songs were respected and encouraged through the generations. During her student years, she was an active member of the noted “Druzhba” ensemble, traveling to perform and represent Ukraine in various international folk dance festivals in Italy, Poland, Spain, France and other countries. Daria graduated from Chernihiv State Institute of Law, Social Technologies & Labor (Ukraine) in 2009 with a Master of Law degree and followed that up in 2011 with earning a Masters in Finance Management from Kyiv National Economics University.
Lyudmila was born in Kharkiv, Ukraine into a Ukrainian family that resettled first to Siberia and then to eastern Ukraine. Although they did not speak Ukrainian where they lived, they nevertheless considered themselves Ukrainian in their daily lives wherever they went. Lyudmila has an educational and work background as a civil engineer and was close to the Chornobyl nuclear accident in 1986. She and her family remained in the neighboring town of Slavutych for the following 17 years helping to rebuild it. Slavutych is home to most of the engineering, technical and managerial personnel from the Chornobyl plant and what is left of it to maintain.
With a planning and policy background, George began his career in city government and consulting in the New York and New Jersey markets. He then transitioned his background into a two-decade career in the investment and insurance industry, eventually becoming CFO of UFA, an international fraternal life insurance company where he was also responsible for all property acquisitions and management, loans, securities purchases as well as portfolio management. George then began an entrepreneurial career that led him to startup and subsequently sell a number of international management, manufacturing, construction and marketing firms for the global export and import industry. George currently leads Roundstone Funding Corp. in the southwestern USA market. He holds both undergraduate and graduate degrees from Rutgers University. His passion for finance, history and the performing arts/ film has led him to his additional role as treasurer of the New Mexico Film Foundation. George recently appeared on The Colt Show to discuss the future of New Mexico Film.
The youngest of seven, Mike was born and raised in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan Canada where grandparents from both sides came from Western Ukraine in 1906 and settled north of Yorkton. His parents, also Canadian born, always taught them to be proud of our Ukrainian heritage and strongly encouraged attendance in various cultural activities- Ukrainian dancing from age 5, summer camps where they learned arts and crafts, and language classes from age 6. They also educated the children on the persecution Ukraine historically endured, and the travails experienced by the early Ukrainian Canadian immigrants. Fot high school, Mike and his brothers attended a Ukrainian Catholic private boys school in Roblin Manitoba where they were involved in Ukrainian choir, dancing, bandura, and various instruments. After high school Mike moved to Saskatoon which had a large and extremely active Ukrainian community. There he was active in the Ukrainian Students Club at the University, Vesna choir, and the Ukrainian Catholic Young Adults group.Upon graduating from nursing school in Saskatoon in 1993 Mike relocated to work in Texas for 3 years after which he began travel nursing all over for the next 16 years, to 13 States from Hawaii to Rhode Island, even to Australia and New Zealand. Everywhere he went he connected with Ukrainians living there, most notably in Sacramento, California, and in Melbourne, Australia. In 2011 Mike bought a house in Albuquerque and has two young sons here. He welcomes the recent coming together and organizing of the Ukrainians in this State of New Mexico and is glad to be a part of it. Mike look forward to seeing our group grow and flourish.
Ilona Bilichak is from Ivano - Frankivsk, Ukraine. Believing in adventures and luck Ilona had moved to the US in 2006. Since then she traveled around America while exploring different cultures and looking for a place to call home. Faith brought her family to New Mexico where she fell in love with sunny weather and bright colors of this state. Artsy spirit was always with her since childhood. That's why when being young she already knew her career path. In 2013 she Succesful graduated University of Art in Ukraine, as a fine art teacher and Artist. During time living in New York Strate, Ilona went to New York City College of Technology for advertising design major.
Stephanie Sydoriak arrived in New Mexico from New England in 1948 as a young married 22 year old woman ready to start her new life here with husband Dr. Stephen Sydoriak, a fellow Ukrainian American who would go on to become a reknown scientist and researcher, first to liquify Helium 3 and then share in other inventions at the Los Alamos Labs. Before moving west, Stephanie studied physics at Northeastern and then attended Yale graduate school, but here in New Mexico she bore six children, translated German, Russian and French scientific papers, taught piano and in 2011 was named a Los Alamos living treasure. She also authored 2 books- the story of her family's history and journey from Ukraine to pre WWI America and afterward “An Ocean Between, 100% American, 100% Ukrainian” and “Inside Passage” a book of poetry. The Sydoriaks, first generation born in USA of Ukrainian immigrant parents who arrived in Boston in 1914, adjusted to American life but kept their Ukrainian language and traditions alive here in New Mexico right through today. Beginning in the 1950's with putting on public dance performances wearing traditional Ukrainian costumes and teaching pysanky Easter egg decorating classes to neighborhood children and adults alike, they lectured on Ukrainian history, arts and customs, Christmas and Easter religious observances, Ukrainian food for different seasons including the blessing of the traditional Easter baskets and many other fascinating exhibits in public libraries, senior centers, churches and schools in the area. Their backyard Ukrainian summertime picnics were well attended by others who were of Ukrainian ancestry or married to one. Stephanie continues her work today, sharing her extensive files and memories with us. We are very grateful for her wit, knowledge and dedication to keeping Ukrainian alive and well in New Mexico and we truly honor her special achievements in sharing them with those she met throughout the decades. See more of Steph Sydoriak's history here.
Olga Yurkiw is a journalist, editor, teacher, TED Fellow and co-founder of StopFake, a volunteer organization launched in 2014 to combat false news reports coming out of Ukraine and Russia during the Maydan Revolution of Dignity. Since then StopFake has evolved into an advanced fact-checking organization with over 200,000 active users covering media in 11 languages and in multiple countries. Their original mission has broadened to help educate news consumers on how to spot fake news on their own, providing useful guidance on exposing biased or inaccurate reporting in order to rebuild the trust we’ve lost in our journalists, leaders and institutions.
Olga was a featured speaker at this year’s Journalism Under Fire conference presented December 4-7 by the Santa Fe Council on International Relations (https://www.sfcir.org/journalism-under-fire/). Afterward, Olga granted us an interview to reflect on the work of the organization from its inception, provide an overview of their effectiveness so far and consider where they are heading in the near future. The interview was conducted in her native Ukrainian.
Learn more about the fight against harmful propaganda and misinformation as well as two critical ways we can ensure that we’re not reading (or sharing) fake news. Olga’s TED talk from April 2018 in English is here:
Pralnia – “Laundry Theater”
On Saturday November 3, 2018 members of UANM were treated to the electrifying, high energy 90 minute non stop
Teatr Pralnia was sponsored by Center Stage, a public diplomacy initiative of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
Ukrainian Americans of New Mexico 85th Anniversary of Holodomor
Ukrainian Americans of New Mexico gathered in Albuquerque on October 13, 2018 to join in communion with all other “Light a Candle in Remembrance” actions throughout the globe to commemorate the anniversary of the Ukrainian murder by famine genocide of 1932-33.
The opening solemn panakhyda was sung at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Byzantine Catholic Church in Albuquerque NM by the assembled choir and by pastor Fr. Artur Bubnevych. Mrs. Nataliya Pavlenko, whose family lived and farmed in the Chernihiv/ Nizhyn region of Ukraine, then recollected her childhood memories of the stories told by her mother and grandparents who finally broke their painful silence decades after the horrors of those years, but yet made everyone in the family promise to never speak of this anywhere again outside their home for fear of arrest and imprisonment. She relayed how communist party activists came to their house and took every scrap of food, grain and property they could carry off and how her mother, then a small child of 4 herself, was warned to hide in fear of being killed and eaten when anyone knocked on their door, of how her grandmother, to her last days on earth, went to bed each night only after placing a morsel of bread under her pillow to safeguard against the Holodomor happening again. She explained how her mother was told to swallow small stones to avert the gnawing of constant hunger and how the family pounded acorns in the forest to make flour to shape into little bitter pancakes to eat.
Two documentary films on the Holodomor were then presented to the audience of over 70 attendees, followed by a repast of Ukrainian foods prepared by the organizing committee members. Books and brochures on the topic were also on display, and the organizers acknowledged the generous donation of the Holodomor teacher’s handbook and other titles by the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies Press.
Much was learned and shared that evening and participants left with a greater understanding of the lasting effects of the genocide against Ukraine, a crime which had been silenced for so very long.
Ukrainian Independence Day in New Mexico
On August 26,
Organizers of the event also shared warm greetings of support received from the 1.4 million member Congress of Ukrainian Canadians. The formal portion of the event was attended by over 50 participants ranging in age from 3 to 90, representing Ukrainian New Mexicans that had resided here since the 1940’s as well as those who had recently arrived. Father Artur Bubnevych of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Byzantine Catholic Church blessed the participants and led the prayers of thanks and in remembrance of our fallen heroes in the continued fight for freedom.
After the initial welcome by organizing committee member Nataliya Edelman, the keynote address was delivered by long time resident and Los Alamos recognized living treasure Stephanie Sydoriak who spoke about how her family, arriving in the US before WWI, had not only preserved Ukrainian traditions, customs and language throughout the decades but had successfully shared it with the indigenous and traditional peoples of New Mexico. She had the good fortune to visit Ukraine in 1990 and join in to joyfully welcome the new spirit of independence that was stirring strongly.
Following the Civic Center Plaza portion of the event, the assembled continued the festivities at a neighborhood park and began planning for the next event.
Full membership in Ukrainian Americans of New Mexico Inc. is open to all who share the values and purposes of our organization, participate in our programs, get three (3) written recommendations from the full members and pay membership dues.
Associate membership in this organization shall be open to all who share the values and purposes of the organization and pay membership dues. Annual dues for either membership category are $20, and we do not require residency in New Mexico to be considered for membership.
Our directors and members regularly receive proposals for projects/ workshops/ lectures and activities covering a wide range of stimulating topics for all ages and interests. We would encourage you to have a closer look at what we’ve done (click to go there) already and at what is coming up soon.
- Recognize and support the contributions that Americans of Ukrainian ancestry have made and continue to make for the wellbeing and prosperity of New Mexico,
- Develop a strong educational and cultural resource assisting Ukrainian Americans in New Mexico in furthering their professional skills for the betterment of the culture and economy of New Mexico,
- Establish and maintain mutually beneficial relationships with charitable, historical, artistic, literary, performing arts, religious, scientific, medical, educational and government institutions in Ukraine, facilitate information exchanges and programs between such New Mexican and Ukrainian institutions,
- Preserve, foster, educate and promulgate a greater understanding of Ukraine’s history, current events and continued contributions to peace and understanding between nations, for the struggle for human rights, freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom of artistic and creative expression, national sovereignty and independence from tyranny.
- Organize and conduct educational and practical seminars, courses, meetings and workshops on topics of interest related to the stated purposes of the organization.
Below is a list of expected activities in the coming years. Please feel free to contact to request more information or to organize an activity yourself!
Maydan Revolution of Dignity 2014
Ukrainian embroidery/ vyshyvanka – history and meanings
Struggle for Ukrainian Independence- history outline including
Ukrainian Easter eggs/ pysanky- history and concepts
Natural healing and pain management
Veterans/ PTSD treatment topics- indigenous healing approaches and exploration
Immigration questions- foreign investment opportunities, green card
Ukrainian folk traditions back to pagan times
Holodomor genocide 1932-33
Ukrainian cinema review series
Other (suggestion box)
Ukrainian cooking- everyday and holiday
Ukrainian language- beginning or intermediate conversational
Ukrainian literature and poetry
Ukrainian music- listening or singing/ playing- chorale, folk,
Ukrainian dance- arkan, folk and seasonal
Pysanka- Ukrainian Easter egg making
Ukrainian folk customs and cosmology going way back (Ivana Kupala…)
Senior activities/ programs, including visiting the sick or housebound
Children’s activities and storytelling, including outings, scouting
Ukrainian publishing, film, video, radio, internet, broadcast media project development
Hiking and exploring
Art classes- drawing, clay, other media
Gardening and heirloom seed exchange